Today halibut fishing opened on the inside waters with excellent results. By day’s end, the fish checker at John Wayne Marina in Sequim counted 69 boats with 40 halibut. That’s an epic fish count in my book. We started the morning at the NE side of Protection Island, in 120 feet of water. After three hours without a bite while anchored up, I decided to make a major move, to Coyote Bank, on the Washington side. Yesterday we fished the Canadian side and caught one keeper.
Currents in the middle of the Strait required me to use 6 pounds on one rod. We used downriggers with 15 pound balls to send our other two FAT Squids tipped with bait to the bottom. The system worked great, here’s how we did it. Our FAT Squid was rigged on a gangion style rig, with a 20-ounce ball on the bottom and the squid three feet above the weight. Above the squid a swivel attaches to the mainline. The rig is lowered into the water, where the current sweeps it behind the ball, about 12 feet. Then a strong downrigger clip attaches to the halibut rod’s mainline. Once the ball hits bottom we raise it about two feet off bottom. The current keeps the lure about six feet off bottom, in the perfect strike zone. Half way through the tide a nice halibut grabbed the FAT Squid tipped with halibut skin, broke off the release and peeled about 150 feet of line from the reel. My fishing partner Lance, reeled the fish to my waiting harpoon.
Eastern Bank put out the most halibut on opening day followed by Hein Bank. One angler who fished Salmon Bank boated five halibut. Dallas Bank, Dungeness Spit/Lighthouse and the shoreline near Pt. Townsend was slow. Freshwater Bay yielded a few 50 pound halibut, as well as 31/36 Hole and the Rockpile. Green Point also yielded a couple fish for those who anchored in shallow water from 50 to 100 feet. Dungeness Bay also yielded a few nice halibut.
On day two of the opener I will be at Eastern Bank, in the shallows around 70 to 90 feet. Good luck.
Also, please read this super important article about saving sport halibut fishing in Washington State. http://crosscut.com/2015/05/guest-opinion-state-needs-to-push-for-halibut-protection/